Thoughts on writing “Flag Burning”.

Another piece from my time in Jr. College. I can still remember exactly where I wrote this, it was in the Theatre building, as I was waiting for rehearsal in the afternoon, I was sitting in the lobby and very bored. Pulled out a piece of paper and hand wrote this. I still have that original handwritten piece today, and in fact transcribed it word for word just now.

This is a not a short story, and it’s hard to categorize it at all, but it’s more or less a form of prose poem which creates the illusion of story. There seems to be a main character, there seem to be things happening to him, and there even seems to be dialogue, but the gibberish of the text makes it impossible to know for certain who or what any of it is. It’s complete nonsense masquerading as something coherent, and not quite succeeding.

This silly bit of nothing is one of my favorite things I’ve ever done, and I can’t explain why except that it makes me smile just to think of the randomness of it. “‘Hypotenuse!’ he salivates,” makes me laugh just to think of it.

The question I get asked most often when I show this is: “Why is the title ‘Flag Burning’?” which also makes me laugh. The title, just as the rest of it, has nothing to do with anything else. It’s so non sequitur people don’t even recognize it as a non-sequitur.

Hope you had fun with it!

-JDC

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